Complex Neanderthal Technology Driven by Paleo Dietary Needs

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Illustration of Neanderthal Man Cut Deer with Stone Tool (Roni / Adobe Stock)

Complex Neanderthal Technology Driven by Paleo Dietary Needs

Modern man’s closest human relatives were Neanderthals - that famed ancient species pronounced with a ’t’ rather than a ‘th’, - with their defining large faces, angled cheek bones and broad noses used for humidifying and warming cold, dry air. While Neanderthal’s bodies were shorter and stockier than modern man’s comparatively taller thin frames, theirs was an adaptation due to their living in colder environments. However, their brains were larger and this advantage is now becoming apparent in the discovery of ancient technologies developed by the extinct species; technologies, that demand an entire paradigm shift regarding the theories on how Neanderthals lived and died.

A model of an adult Neanderthal male head and shoulders on display in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A model of an adult Neanderthal male head and shoulders on display in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Finding the First Specimen

Neanderthals were highly-skilled pack hunters who focused on killing large animals, but they also ate plant foods, and it was in hunting animals and gathering plants that their rudimentary survival crafts led them to develop a diverse and wide range of sophisticated weapons and tools. Living in cave dwellings, Neanderthals controlled fire, made and wore clothing, and evidence suggests they buried their dead with deliberation, occasionally marking their graves with ritualistic offerings such as flowers and plants. Apart from human beings, no other species of primate had ever practiced this sophisticated behavior, which is symbolic of a developed culture.


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